Bishop addresses Supreme Court decision requiring licensing of same-sex marriages

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Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued the following statement July 1, 2015 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges requiring all states to license and recognize same-sex unions as a marriage. To learn more, see Bishop Q&A.

"Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that now requires all states to grant same-sex unions the same legal status as true marriages. This decision runs counter to the truth of marriage, which by its very nature is about love and commitment shared between consenting adults but also about much more; it is also for the purpose of bringing forth new life and raising the children born of that union.

"This is no less true for those married couples who are unable to conceive children of their own, but who nonetheless reflect the mutual complementarity of the sexes — a complementarity that is ingrained in our biology and images our Creator.

"Jesus taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman, and as Catholics our faith invites us to embrace this truth inscribed in our very bodies as male and female — a truth regarding the human person that remains unchanged and is indeed unchangeable.

"You might ask: why does the Church care about changes in civil marriage so long as we are not forced to officiate at such ceremonies ourselves? The answer is that we have a responsibility to the common good, and error has tragic practical consequences that affect all of us — and in particular our children, the most vulnerable among us.

"We have already seen the damage suffered by children and society in general as the consequence of the breakdown of the family due to widespread divorce and single parenthood, often due to regrettable though unavoidable circumstances. However, in the case of same-sex marriage we have a completely avoidable circumstance.

"All children have a basic right to be raised, when possible, by their natural parents in a stable, loving home. Marriage between a man and a woman is the only institution that by its nature is able to accomplish this, even if other children have been raised well in other situations, thanks often to heroic sacrifices on the part of single parents.

"To those who are dismayed over this court ruling and our nation’s future, I would remind you that the early Church not only survived, it thrived in the midst of a pagan and hostile world. We as American Catholics may be ridiculed for our stance on marriage, labeled as bigots or hate-mongers. But unlike our fellow Christians in Syria and Iraq, we are unlikely to be killed for our faith. Still, the struggle is real.

"And at this critical juncture, what we need now more than ever is that we be saints — wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and children — all banding together to live our lives as saints. Saintly families will be the shining light that will eventually convince our nation to return marriage to its properly exalted status. And even if our nation fails to do that, our Church will grow in fidelity.  

"Persons who experience same-sex attraction have the same human rights as anyone else, but redefining the natural institution of marriage will not serve to improve their lives any more than abortion improves the lives of frightened women in difficult situations. The two worst Supreme Court decisions of our lifetime are Roe v. Wade and now Obergefell v. Hodges. Neither decision is rooted in truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail.

"In the meantime, our nations’ loss of moral compass will only get worse, to the detriment of us all. For this reason, I ask for your prayers for our nation and for all of those who disagree with us on these questions of such vital importance for our nation’s future and our nation’s soul. Pray also for all of those who will be led into error and in particular those who will most suffer its damaging consequences.

Sincerely in Christ, 
+Anthony B. Taylor
Bishop of Little Rock